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DRAM suppliers faced tumultuous Q2

Posted: 12 Aug 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DRAM suppliers  second quarter  DRAM market  megabyte unit 

Facing a tough market following months of losses, top 10 DRAM suppliers had a tumultuous second quarter this year due to poor profits and sequential megabyte unit growth, according to iSuppli Corp.

Despite dismal profits, the industry unit growth did not slow down in Q2. "The industry megabyte bit growth grew by a stunning 17 per cent sequentially during the second quarter, blowing iSuppli's forecast of 10 per cent," said Nam Hyung Kim, iSuppli director and chief analyst for memory ICs/storage systems. "The unit growth doesn't seem to be slowing down either and is even higher than that of the first quarter. The positive side is that the PC market has been sound. However, oversupply may be inevitable in the third quarter due to OEMs' aggressive inventory build-up during the second quarter," he added.

Samsung keeps the lead

Samsung maintained its No. 1 position in the DRAM market with more than 30 per cent market share while Qimonda's position dropped to just 9 per cent market share.

Although Hynix boosted its sales by 20 per cent, Elpida's grew by 22 per cent, keeping a market share distance of four percentage points between two. Hynix gained nearly 20 per cent of the market while Elpida's market share increased to more than 15 per cent during the quarter.

"The market share battle between Hynix and Elpida could delay the market recovery," Kim noted. "Elpida clearly wants to be No. 2 soon while Hynix will try to reduce its NAND growth and increase DRAM production to retain its market share."

Qimonda, which captured 16 per cent market share just two years ago, lost 7 per cent of that growth as other DRAM suppliers had forged ahead.

The figure below presents the second quarter market share results for the top 10 DRAM suppliers based on iSuppli's latest forecasts.

DRAM market revenue share in Q2 2008

Near term DRAM warning

DRAM suppliers should not rest easy despite the mild recovery in the second quarter. The global DRAM market is showing renewed signs of weakness, with prices expected to fall on the third quarter due to bloated inventories, according to iSuppli.

After iSuppli upgraded its rating of near-term conditions for DRAM suppliers from "negative" last April to "neutral", the market bottomed out and manufacturers' profitability improved during the second quarter. Following months of losses, a few top-tier suppliers managed to attain profitability starting in June and a handful are expected to do so in the third quarter.

However, OEM contract prices for DRAM will likely decline in August and September. The main question facing the industry now is how much prices will decline during the third quarter. iSuppli predicts it will be over 10 per cent from current level.

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